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Finding his voice
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Cammy Dierking) -- Three years ago, a young lawyer tried to protect his sister from a horrific stabbing attack.
The siblings were left for dead but they survived. Danny O'Keefe is still recovering, but making steady progress. For the first time since the attack, Danny agreed to appear on TV. And in this Local 12 exclusive, he showed what being a survivor was really all about.
It's been a slow recovery for Danny O'Keefe. Three years ago, he couldn't walk, talk, or use his right arm.
Kathy O'Keefe, Danny's mom, said, "Today, Danny can have conversations with you. It's usually one word, but we're getting several sentences strung together, so it's pretty cool." She continued, "He walks constantly and he's got movement in his shoulder and elbow and we're working really hard on his hand now."
The O'Keefe family's lives changed forever in May of 2011. Danny and his sister, Kelly, were young attorneys when Kelly's ex-boyfriend broke into their Fairfield home and savagely attacked them. Danny was stabbed 19 times in the brain and 15 times in the arm, severing all his ligaments and tendons.
For the past three years he has gone through extensive therapy. Doctors said his brain injury is a lot like former congresswoman Gabby Gifford's.
Kathy told Local 12, "The bridge has been broken between language and the brain, and it can be just verbal or reading & writing. And Danny has all three."
For the first year Danny could only utter a few words. But now he loves to talk, especially about sports.
Danny said, "Cincinnati is just my favorite. Bengals and reds, just my buddies. I'm just born, you know."
Danny also loves to talk to his new service dog-in training, Beamer.
"Danny has vision troubles, so Beamer moves him away from things on the right. Danny has PTSD so Beamer is a great comfort," Kathy explained.
And Danny's come up with nicknames for the dog who is always on the move, "Constantly. Wild Child and Wiggles."
Danny has many more years of therapy ahead, but with Beamer and loving family and friends by his side, the sky's the limit.
Much of Danny's speech therapy, and his service dog Beamer, are paid for by the Heartstone Foundation. The organization helps families in need pay major medical bills.
There's a fundraising bike ride known as the "Heartstone Tour" on August 17.
CLICK HERE for more details on the Heartstone Foundation.